The Leader of the Basildon Council Councillor Gavin Callaghan is calling on the central Government to step up support for self-employed people as coronavirus threatens their livelihoods.
Cllr Callaghan has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP today, saying Basildon has a large number of self-employed people in a variety of fields who, through no fault of their own, are facing a considerable period of reduced income and hardship.
Citing the economic importance of the thousands of self-employed people in the Basildon borough Cllr Callaghan asked the Government to take immediate action to include them in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme so that they have a guaranteed basic income.
Read the full letter below.
Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
I want to thank you for your commitment to support Basildon's businesses and workers during this unprecedented crisis. Basildon Borough Council stands ready and willing to work with you to do everything we can to aid the financial recovery from Coronavirus.
In your announcements thus far, you have rightly taken steps to safeguard 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 for PAYE workers. This will be done through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, at present there has not been any announcement on measures you are taking to support self-employed workers. This is leaving far too many workers uncertain about their financial futures.
As you will appreciate, Essex is the home of the UK entrepreneur and Basildon has a large number of self-employed and 'one-man bands' who make an honest living in a variety of fields. Through no fault of their own, these self-employed workers have seen their order books dry up and are facing a considerable period of reduced income. Already the council has been inundated with requests from people for support with paying their council tax as we near the end of the month of March and people are concerned about meeting bills and payments.
The self-employed represents a significant chunk of the Basildon workforce and it is vital that they are now given the same support as PAYE workers. Therefore, can I ask you to take immediate action to include the self-employed in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme so that they have a guaranteed basic income. This will offer security for millions of workers in the UK and thousands in the Basildon Borough.
Thank you again for your leadership on this issue so far and I trust you will take effective and efficient steps to support Basildon's self-employed community in the days ahead.
Councillor Gavin Callaghan
Published on Tuesday 24 March 2020